There’s only one thing Jayden Lee is nervous about when he speaks of his upcoming 107-kilometre (km) fundraiser run from Chilliwack to BC Children’s Hospital.
“Definitely running 107 kilometres,” he said with a laugh.
The 22-year-old Chilliwack Realtor has a personal connection to BC Children’s – he was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was an avid runner at the age of 16, and was treated at the Vancouver-based hospital for years.
“I actually found out I was sick from running,” he said.
When he was in middle school, he could run 10 km without any problems, but once he was in high school and he was a few months into Grade 10, he started feeling out of shape when running. By December of 2014, he couldn’t even run one lap around the track without feeling tired and light-headed.
His physical education teacher noticed it. His mom noticed it. And when he ended up fainting at a friend’s house, that’s when Lee admitted he needed help.
“That’s when I realized I should probably go get checked out.”
On Jan. 28, 2015, he went for a blood test after school, and later that evening Lee found out he had leukaemia. For the next three and a half years, he underwent chemotherapy.
After his treatment, at the age of 19, Lee got his Realtor’s licence and picked up running again.
“After I stopped chemo, I wanted to get back into shape so I started running on and off over the last couple years,” Lee said.
Last fall, he was chatting with his buddy and fellow Century 21 Creekside Realtor Cameron Van Klei, about how he could raise funds for BC Children’s Hospital.
They joked that Lee should run from Chilliwack to the hospital in Vancouver, and that’s how it all came about.
“Everyone has been effected by BC Children’s in some way, so it’s a cause that everyone can relate to and donate to,” Lee said.
Cancer has hit Van Klei’s family, too. His 35-year-old wife is currently going through treatment for breast cancer. She has a cancer gene called LFS (Li-Fraumeni Syndrome) which is a hereditary genetic condition.
“It’s a nasty one,” Van Klei said. “We’re hoping our kids don’t have it, and if they do, we will probably end up at Children’s like everyone else.”
That’s one of the reasons Van Klei decided to “jump on board and go running” with his friend.
The distance to BC Children’s Hospital is 107 km, which is about the length of two and a half marathons. Lee has never run a marathon before (neither has Van Klei, although he’s signed up for one in May) so he admits he’s “diving into it headfirst.”
But thanks to the help of Lee’s grandmother, Chris Race, who has run many marathons and even some ultra-marathons (which is a 100-km race), he and Van Klei have a training program in place leading up to the big day on Sept. 26.
They’ve been training for about two months under Race’s 35-week program. They started off running three days a week which is increased to four days a week. Each week includes one long run which increases in distance as the months go by. Near the end of the training, the longest run they’ll be doing is 60 km.
“We had a 70-km, but your grandma cut that,” Van Klei said to Lee.
Lee figures it’ll take them about 10 to 12 hours to complete the run.
“It’s a little nerve wracking. I don’t care about how long it takes me to get there, if I have to walk, I’ll walk there. It’s just a matter of getting from point A to point B,” Lee said.
The two have set a goal of raising $121,000 dollars. They chose that number because of Century 21, the real estate agency they both work for, and are encouraging their fellow Realtors to donate $21 for every real estate transaction they make.
“(We’re) a couple of wing nuts that want to go for a run and make a difference,” said Van Klei.
Lee and Van Klei’s fundraiser run to BC Children’s Hospital takes place on Sunday, Sept. 26. They will be leaving from the Century 21 office on Luckakuck Way at 5:30 a.m.
To donate to the cause, go to gofundme.com/f/jaydens-run-to-bc-childrens-hospital.